#10 – How can I find information about financial assistance for my parents who live in Chapel Hill/Durham?

Click here to see the prior item in this series:  My parents are in their 70s.  Is now the time to talk about their future healthcare preferences?

How can I find information about financial assistance for my parents who live across the country from me? They saved money for retirement, but the cost of their medical care is really high, and they are worried.

You and your parents are not alone in worrying about how much medical care costs. These expenses can use up a significant part of monthly income, even for families who thought they had saved enough. Your parents may be eligible for some healthcare benefits.

As a long-distance caregiver, with your loved one needing home care in the Chapel Hill-Durham, NC area, one way you can be helpful is by learning more about possible sources of financial help and then assisting your parents in applying for aid as appropriate. The Internet can be a helpful tool in this search.

There are several federal and state programs that provide help with healthcare-related costs. Here is an overview to help you get started. The Centers for Medicare  Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency responsible for Medicare, offers several programs. Over time, the benefits and eligibility requirements of these programs  can change and differ from state to state, so it is best to check with CMS, www.cms.gov, or the individual programs directly for the most recent information.

Under Medicare, some states have PACE, Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, www.pace4you.org. This is a program providing care and services to people who otherwise would need care in a nursing home. SHIP, the State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program, www.medicare.gov/Contacts, offers counseling and assistance to people and their families on Medicare, Medicaid, and Medigap matters.   If your parent is eligible for veterans benefits, don’t forget to check with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), www.va.gov. Or, get in touch with the VA medical center nearest you.

The National Council on Aging website, www.benefitscheckup.org, is another good place to start.  By providing some general information about your parent, you can see a list of possible benefits you might want to explore. You don’t have to give the name, address, or Social Security number in order to use this service.  If prescription medicines cost too much, ask the doctor if there is a less expensive medication or a generic choice.  Learn more about Medicare insurance for prescription drugs at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx or call Medicare or SHIP. Also, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, www.pparx.org, can provide a list of patient assistance.

Click here to see the next item in this series:   We’re going to spend our vacation with my mom to see how we can make her house safer.  How can we make the best use of our time?

Acorn wishes to acknowledge the National Institute on Aging for this valuable content.


Within Acorn’s service area of Chapel Hill, Durham and surrounding areas in North Carolina (Hillsborough, Pittsboro, Morrisville, Cary, and Apex) the following resources may be especially helpful:

  • Orange County Department on Aging, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27516, (919) 968-2070
  • Durham Center for Senior Life, 406 Rigsbee Avenue – Suite 202, Durham, North Carolina   27701, (919) 688-8247
  • Chatham County Council on Aging, 365 North Carolina 87, Pittsboro, North Carolina   27312, (919) 542-4512
  • Triangle J Area Agency on Aging, 4307 Emperor Boulevard
- Suite 110, Durham, NC 27703, 919-558-2711
  • Resources for Seniors (Wake County), 1110 Navaho Dr.  – Suite 400, Raleigh, NC 27609, 919-872-7933